submitted by Grady Tezeno of Leisure Alternaitves on November 4, 2006
Size of Group: 2 to 6 clients
Equipment: Ping pong balls or checkers, one/two tables and 20 ounce hard plastic cups
Objective: To increase hand and eye coordination and socialization
Description: Place the cups on to a the midpoint of the table and have a player at each end of the table. Players alternate by taking turns. Set distances away from each cup, leaning close to the cup is permissible. The objective of the game is to bounce the balls in the or toss the checkers within a predetermine time. The person who scores the most ball/checkers is the winner. This activity also can be play outdoors by using PVC pipes which should be bolted to a flat square shape woodsurface (which provides support) and using light weight washers instead of ping pong balls and checkers. In addition, this activity can be use as team sport activity and can be set up like a golf course. Rules can be adapted to meet the needs of others.
Wacky table bowling
submitted by T.J. Shovein of The Lingenfelter Center on December 27, 2006
Size of Group: 1-10
Equipment: Small plastic cups, medium weight ball or water filled small beach ball, and tables.
Objective: The activity is designed for geriatric residents to help with range of motion and fitness. Works great with wheelchair residents.
Description: Align three small tables in a row. Stack the plastic cups at one end of the table either in bowling pin line up or we like to make a pyramid. Fill a small beach ball part water and part air. At the other end of the tables have the residents use the ball to roll down the tables to knock down the cups (pins). The water will make the ball move in different directions and some of the residents find it funny to watch the ball. You can also use a regular ball or shorter table length
Big Buck Hunt
submitted by Dianna Alderman of Heartland of Ann Arbor on September 30, 2007
Size of Group: 5-20
Equipment: construction paper, markers, glue, and deer hunting magazine
Objective: To increase fine motor skills, enhance sense of well being, and encourage socialization and reminiscing.
Description: Two part activity. First have group gather and pick deer out of a magazine. Cut and paste onto construction paper. The next day on opening day of deer hunting have patients gather for a BIG BUCK HUNT. You will hide the deer all over your facility with numbers. You will instruct the patients that they will win a prize for the most deer found. This is a scavenger hunt. Assist patients around facility and encourage staff to walk those who can walk. You can conclude activity with a social and chili for the snack. Encourage patients to reminisce about hunting or sending husbands off to hunt. This is a great group activity and many staff will be delighted to help. You can encourage staff and patients to wear flannel shirts on the day of the hunt.
submitted by Joanne McAulay of Edgewood Park Nursing Facility on July 15, 2010
Size of Group: 12
Equipment: Rice filled frogs or turtles or any other animal, lily pad with flowers
Objective: Physical exercise and friendly competition. Craft was also involved with the residents helping to stuff the frogs first with filling and then with rice.
Description: I made a lily pad out of an old doona cover and put 11 lily flowers on it. On some of the flowers I put numbers...3 on the middle one, 2 on some of the others and 1 on some of the outside ones. The object of the game is to toss your frog on to the lily flower and gain the most points. The winner is the one with the highest points...they of course won a Freddo Frog!!
submitted by penny dyer of ben on November 25, 2008
Size of Group: 2 to 6
Equipment: inflated beach ball, string, hook in ceiling
Objective: arm and trunk exercise, socialization, attention span, fun
Description: the participants sit in a circle around the hanging ball and push it to each other. This is almost a reflex action and is always enjoyed by our residents.
submitted by Kimberley McGowan of Issaquah Nursing & Rehab Center on December 24, 2008
Size of Group: 2-20
Equipment: 1-Bright balloon-For slower moving residents add very little helium and blow the rest up it causes the balloon to fall slower.
Objective: Eye/Hand coordination-Hand-arm/Feet-leg workout
Description: Place in a circle OBJECT is to have them hit the balloon with feet or hands without it touching the ground. Put a twist in it have them count hoe many times it is hit. You could add extra balloons. This game will last about an hour.
End of the rainbow coin toss
submitted by Jen Johns of Golden Living Center -- Riverdale on February 25, 2010
Size of Group: Small group
Equipment: Chocolate coins to toss and
Pot of gold container for coins
Objective: Group socialization and hand-eye contact
Description: similar to bean bag toss but use chocolate coins.... The winner gets the pot of coins!
submitted by Barbara Konuszewski of Huron Woods on September 23, 2009
Size of Group: 12-20
Equipment: Container of 50-100 Pennies. 30 various small prizes. A full-size white sheet with about 12 various-sized plate circles traced with marker on it-circles should be towards the center of the sheet, not near the edges.
Objective: Social Interactive Activity To Promote Eye-Hand and Spatial Coordination, and FUN!
Description: Need a roomy place to do this activity (dining rooms work great). A sheet is spread out and small prizes are placed in each circle. Prizes can be candy bars, snacks, small stuffed animals, Kleenex, socks, can of nuts etc. Make sure prizes do not cover the circle. Players are seated around the sheet on all sides. Each person is given 5 pennies to toss. THE RULES: Only one person tosses a penny at a time. The penny must land inside the circle or at least touch the circle-line in order to win.
submitted by Amy Wakley of Benevolent Society on May 2,
Size of Group: 5-15
Equipment: Large exercise ball, chairs
Objective: Promotes team spirit, enjoyment, exercise and
Description: Chairs should be arranged in a circle in a
large room. Allow residents/clients to gently kick the
ball across the room to one another.
Submitted by Victoria Whitehead of
Avonleigh Gardens Residential Home on June 11, 2006
Size of group: any size
Equipment: medium size soft football and large washing
Hand-eye coordination. Exercise for the hands and arms
Description: the individuals have to throw the ball into
the basket. Depending on individuals abilities this can
be easy or really difficult. They have as many goes as
they need to get the ball into the basket. It is up to
the organizer to put the basket at a reasonable distance
for each individual (not everyone will do the same distance)the
organizer encourages the individual to keep on trying and
also encourages others to encourage them. You move around
the group until every one as been able to throw the ball
successfully in the basket. Then you start again but this
time you move the basket a little further away. The organizer
may need to give verbal assistance to some such as throw
a little higher or harder in order for them to get the
ball in the basket.
it going Volleyball
Laura Smith on Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Size: 4+ (larger
the area, the more people who can participate!)
Objective: To increase
physical activity, improve problem solving skills, and
increase team work.
Description: This is great when patients are unable to leave a unit,
or have to stay indoors.
Start by having all participants sit in a chair scattered
around the room.
The object is to count every time the beach ball is hit
by a hand (or head). If the beach ball at anytime rolls
flat (no bouncing) on the floor or a table, the count
starts over again at 1. The ball can bounce off the walls,
tables, floor, ceiling etc., but just cannot roll flat.
Added Rules are:
1. no one is allowed to stand up as long as the ball is
2. No kicking, spiking
3. No monopolizing the ball only 2 hits in a row by same
person count (higher functioning groups figured out it
was easiest to monopolize to get a high score)
4. Not allowed to have just a small group pass back and
forth to each other over and over
The final goal is to see if the team can break the record.
This activity works great with ages 12-17 in patient's.
My first group's record was 25, it's now up to 1,017!
You'll see natural leaders blossom, and problem solving
comes in play especially when there are holes the ball
keeps falling flat into. Great for teamwork, because not
one person can fail, since everyone is on one team.
submitted by Amy Jaroszewski of Glenwell on October 18, 2006
Size of Group: 10+
Equipment: Chairs and Beach Ball
Objective: This is a activity to get everyone involved
Description: Everyone sits in a circle and tries to keep the ball in the air by hitting it to another person. Even the people watching get involved because the ball always gets hit out of the circle and they like being the gofers but they never want to play but as long as you have them watch from the outside they will be involved.
submitted by Jo-Ann C. Kedzierski,
RPS of Mercer Geriatrics, Trenton, NJ on October 10, 2001
Size: Two or more
Equipment: Large sturdy,
brightly colored balloon and sturdy string , ribbon or
improvement of eye/hand coordination, socialization, self
balloon from ceiling with string, ribbon or yarn. I prefer
yarn. It gives more bounce. Place residents at a table
or in a circle. Have them hit it to each other. They love
it and will play for quite awhile. Coordinate the balloon
color to season. I like to draw with a marker on them,
ie. orange for Autumn with a jack-o'-lantern face, white
for winter with a Santa face, light blue for Spring with
flowers etc. Use your imagination. Play music that is
appropriate and fun, ie. Polka, Rock-n-Roll, Patriotic
for holidays. Simple but fun!
by Lorie Antonelli (November
you will need a balloon,
preferably a colorful one, and a volleyball net. You may
designate teams, for competitive purposes but it is not
necessary. Just begin playing ball. The benefits are obvious
and it is fun for the RT's to play also. We sometimes
vary the game a bit by playing with music. Kind of like
musical balloon, whomever has the balloon when the music
stops, that person has to say something positive about
their day. Makes for some great conversations! have fun!
Jones, Activities Director of Appling Nursing Home
on January 28, 2002 Equipment: table
net, like a ping pong size net,
punch ball balloons, couple of tables, music like hokey
pokey. Description: make two teams. put one team on one side
of long table and other team on other side. blow up 2-3
punch ball balloons. Play tape like hokey pokey, and
let fun begin. Players just keep hitting balloons back
and forth over net like volleyball.
by Carolyn Shrimplin of Pines Of Sarasota
12, 2004. Sit 4 or more residents
in a circle ..Must be enough room so they won’t
hit each other. Balloons need to be pinch of helium
..and the rest lung air, so that the balloon will float
without hitting ceiling. Residents are the encouraged
to hit balloon with racquet to any resident they chose
and so forth. You can keep score for fun. Use music
that is not too fast paced. Activity person plays along
too. This activity has proven to be a lot of fun for
by Kris Tina on July 13, 2005. My
resident's love this game. We take a balloon and
just hit it in
back and forth. if you have children at home they often
refer to the game as don't touch the ground.
Variation by Halley
Stringham. Place an equal number of residents on both sides of
give them all a fly swatter and play! Residents will
use flyswatters to pass the balloon to teammates, or
hit it over the net. Follow normal volleyball rules.
Great for individuals in wheelchairs.
Variation submitted by Daphne of Gem Health
Size of Group: 1-20
Equipment/Supplies Needed: one balloon
Activity/Treatment Objective or Expected Outcome: Increase upper body movement.
Promote social interaction with leader and other residents
Description of the Activity: This activity is very simple - our dementia residents absolutely love it. At our facility residents are usually sitting around the common area already, so we just show up with a balloon and toss it to a resident. It's not long before nearby residents are smiling and reaching out to bat or catch the balloon as well. We move around the room engaging groups of 2 or 3 at a time. You could also arrange residents in a circle, but for us, the beauty is that it is not necessary to move anyone - residents can stay where they are and get some exercise and socialization. This is also something that nursing staff can do during quiet times
submitted by Clarissa
Size: various number
Equipment: Snow and
Objective: Great outside
a "pie" shape in the snow and cut pieces in
it (like eight serving). The size of the circle could
be as large as the group would like. It could depend on
the age - smaller circle (8 - 10 feet across) for the
little kids and larger (10 - 15 feet across) for the bigger
The center where all the
cuts come together is the"free space." Now
play tag! The center is the only place you can rest
Places I've Been
submitted by Dennis Klenow CTRS
of Havenwych Hospital on March 15, 1999
Size of Group: 8-20
Equipment: One chair
for each participant, arranged in a circle, the leader
will start off standing
participant sits in one of the arranged chairs. The leader
starts off by naming one place that they have visited
in the past, for example on vacation. All the participants
that have visited that location, must rise out of their
chairs and find a new chair somewhere else in the circle.
The leader finds himself or herself a chair and now there
is a new person in the circle. This participant now must
name a place they have visited. This continues until everyone
has had a chance to be in the center of the circle or
until time expires. The leader makes sure that on the
last turn, he or she is left in the circle in order to
bring the group to a close with discussion or processing.
Snowball / Marshmallow throw
by Pat Snyder of North Woods Nursing Center on July 9, 1999
Size of Group:
8 to 10
Equipment: large plastic
3 to 4 bags of marshmallows dusted with flour to keep from getting
1) Interactive social contact
2) promote social interaction, release aggression safely
3) participants learn to cooperate for successful outcome and
lots of laughs
Description: Seat persons
seated in a circle
Give each person a bowl to hold on their lap and put 10 marshmallows
in each bowl.
First players throw marshmallows
into each others bowls as leader counts down time ( 2 minutes
Player with the most marshmallows
in their bowl wins. Or you could play this game so the person
without ay marshmallows wins. Use your imagination and let me
know your ideas. We have had a lot of fun with this, everyone
is covered with white spots in the end!